How We Met
I’m a wedding photographer, so it’s only fitting that I met Jeremy at a wedding. The bride was a friend that I grew up with, and Jeremy was college roommates with the Groom. We first met when I went to the Grooms hotel room to meet the groomsmen for the getting ready photos. With my most professional face on, I ended up asking Jeremy to do a few things (help the groom put on the jacket, hold the groomsmen gift for a photo), so we had some interaction early on. He says I really got him when I teased them all that the bridesmaids were drinking more than they were at that point in the day, so he and another groomsman jumped in the elevator to run to the liquor store. I remember seeing the elevator close on him and we made eye contact, which feels like a movie when I remember it now.
Next, came the portraits. I am usually the one putting on the boutonnieres for the guys, and this wedding was no different. Some of the girls in the wedding party told me later that Jeremy was “googaly-eyed” watching me pin his flowers, but I still had on my professional face and didn’t notice. I joked with the bridal party and even called Jeremy by the wrong name at first, but he joked right back and didn’t mind. I just thought he was a super nice, helpful (and super attractive) groomsman, but didn’t think anything of it.
Finally, the reception. Well after all the main reception activities had finished, I was headed over to the DJ’s booth to grab another memory card for my camera. I had my back turned to the dance floor, and over all the sounds of the music and crowd, I remember only hearing my name. Like I was in a tunnel. I turned around, a little confused but excited to see who it was, and I was surprised to see it was that cute groomsman whom I had called Ryan earlier.
“You’ve been working hard,” Jeremy said, “and you deserve a break so you can dance with me.”
I was professional, remember? So of course I had an excuse. “Oh no, I can’t! I’m working, but thanks!”
“Come on,” he said. “I know your boss pretty well. Just once dance.”
“I’m a really horrible dancer. Like, Taylor Swift bad.” She was actually not great in 2015 and I revoke the statement as of 2017.
“I happen to like Taylor Swift. I already requested the song.” He reached out his hand.
I’ll admit, I’ve been asked by several groomsman to dance before. And I always successfully said no and had no problem eventually shaking them off with some wit or candor. But this time, I wanted to. So I put down my cameras, nervously asked the DJ to watch them, and danced with Jeremy.
He later agreed that I was, in fact, not a great dancer. But in my defense, he almost dropped me. Almost, meaning he actually nearly dropped me flat on my back on the floor with a fancy swing dip. But luckily for both of us, he caught me.
He kept his word and let me get back to work after that one song. We had so much fun that I can’t tell you what on earth it was that played, but I couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the night. I admittedly took a few more photos of him than the other groomsman (okay, a lot more), but I tried to even it out by taking THAT many more photos of everyone else, too.
Later, during a lull in the dancing, he was leaning on the bar when I found myself on that side of the dance floor.
“Where do you live?” he asked.
“Dallas!” I screamed over the crowd. At this point in time, I had lived in Dallas for a good month. The wedding was in Cheyenne, WY, about 70 miles south of the bride’s and my home town.
“Dallas!” Jeremy repeated. And then he smiled and I didn’t want to be anywhere else, but I knew I had to get back to work. I explained the logistics of my living situation and how on earth I was there for a wedding. I only had 20 minutes left of the wedding at this point, so I explained to him I had a few more photos to take. Then, the groom came from the crowd and said, “Cassie, I’m your boss, and I’m telling you to put down your cameras and talk to Jeremy.” Done.
The last thing on the agenda that night was the sparkler exit + long exposure shot. Jeremy “accidentally” stood by me for the exit, and I asked him for help with the long exposure shot. I asked him to go grab one of their friends so each of them could run around the bride + groom for the final shot of the night. He disappeared while on the “finding a friend” mission, and I had to grab two other people. I slowly walked back inside, hoping to run into him again. Then I slowly packed my things. And took one extra trip to the car just in case I’d see him, but he was gone. The only person I ran into on my way out was the bride, saying I absolutely needed to come hang out with them at the after party. Definitely not my MO, but I found myself agreeing, and I drove straight there.
I sat outside the bar (yes, a bar, it’s Wyoming) in my car. What are you doing? I thought. This is a bad idea. It’s going to look so unprofessional. What are you doing. The worst part? I was saying this in my car, and I continued to think it while I walked up the stairs and to the door. He probably isn’t even here, and he’s not coming; I thought. But just as my slow moving feet reached the door, two girls in the bridal party walked up and yelled my name. And guess who walked in behind them?
We walked in together and found a seat at the bar top. Everyone else grabbed their drinks at the bar and headed over to a table so they could all sit together, but we found ourselves sitting there and talking for hours. Jeremy told me that when he went to find a friend, he got roped into hauling out dishes and decorations and couldn’t get back.
“I said to myself, I’ll never see her again. And then I walked up and there you were. I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
We couldn’t stop talking. About everything. As cheesy as it was, it truly felt like we had known each other for years.
how they asked
Jeremy and I have been together a little over two years now. Last year was our first official Christmas card together, with our two pit bulls Jax and Lila. After a long wedding season for me and a long football season for him, we got to see each other near my hometown for his final football game. Since playoffs are always a little surprising as far as location, it was great that he would be able to come home with me that weekend and hang out with my family. We had talked about getting engaged, but to me, it was still all talk. He had mentioned how awesome it would be for us to head out to my family’s ranch about an hour away to take our Christmas card photo for the year. How could I disagree with that?
The next morning, we got all dressed up, loaded the dogs in the car with my tripod and camera, and headed out to the ranch. The drive was like any other, with a little cute conversation and the constant jokiness that we always have. It was chilly that day and the wind was blowing, so we tried to find some quick places with a little wind cover. We set up the tripod in the canyon for a few shots, and agree to hike up the butte for one more look. After a couple cute photos with the dogs, we were overlooking the canyon and the valley of the ranch on this beautiful October day. The wind was getting chillier all the time, so I ran back to the camera and said, “let’s take one more, just you and me.” I clicked the timer and ran back to Jeremy, counting down as I jogged. I wrapped my arm around his waist and felt him fall to the ground. I looked at him, a little confused (and annoyed, he had fake proposed so many times at this point that he was the boy who cried proposal) and realized that this time down on his knee was different than all the other fake-out times. This time, he was smiling nervously, and he didn’t get up.
“Casandra Rose Madden,” he said as he fiddled with the ring he had hidden in his sock the whole time.
“Shut up.” I said. Hey, I was shocked.
He laughed. “Will you marry me?”
To which, I definitely, and finally, said yes.
Jeremy timed it perfectly so we got our proposal on camera! Only he would make sure that I could capture my very own proposal.